Harlem Week Commemorates 46th Year With Virtual Celebration

This year’s theme, Movement of the People, addresses community issues with education, technology, economic empowerment, racism, and health disparities.

August 07, 2020

Today, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) announced that Harlem Week 2020 will be a virtual experience celebrating the art, culture, sports history, and entertainment for which Harlem is internationally known. This year’s programming, which will stream online August 16-23, will also include community building initiatives around education, technology, economic empowerment, systematic racism, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. 

Harlem Week is an annual celebration of the best of Harlem which works to promote its rich African American, African, Caribbean, Hispanic, and European history, as well as arts, culture, religion, business, entertainment, and sports. Harlem Week began in 1974 as Harlem Day, a one day event of encouragement and fellowship in Harlem for New Yorkers. Given the huge success of the celebration, additional days were added to showcase the community’s rich economic, political, and cultural history. Harlem Week 2019 featured over 110 events throughout the summer for over two million attendees, including participants and visitors from around the world.

“We recognize that 2020 is a year unlike anything we have ever seen. From COVID-19 ravaging our most vulnerable communities to the racial reckoning in America, it is important that we share the culture, history, resilience, and strength of Harlem to the world,” said Lloyd Williams, president of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce. “This year also marks the centennial celebrations of the Harlem Renaissance, the Negro Baseball League and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. We are proud to lead the way in the resurgence of sports, art, entertainment, and activism as New York City recovers from the multiple pandemics.”

This year’s marquee events include:

  • A Great Day in Harlem (Aug. 16)
  • Harlem 5K Virtual Run and Health Walk (Aug. 16-23)
  • Youth Education and Career Conference & Hack-A-Thon (Aug. 16)
  • Hon. Percy E. Sutton Business Conference (Aug. 19)
  • The Jobs and Career Fair featuring a discussion on "Jobs Behind the Scenes on Broadway" (Aug. 19)
  • Senior Citizens Day (Aug. 21)
  • Harlem Day (Aug. 23)
  • The Harlem Music Festival (Aug.16-23)

Harlem Week will also host regional summits virtually that will provide an unfiltered examination of pressing issues of the day during the COVID-19 Regional Summit (Aug. 18); the first ever Hon. Charles B. Rangel Systemic Racism & Economic Justice Summit (Aug. 20); along with panel discussions led by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

New Yorkers and visitors across the nation and worldwide can virtually experience performances and appearances by music greats Dionne Warwick, John Legend, Nona Hendryx, Monty Alexander, Hezekiah Walker and Melba Moore; hip-hop icon Doug E. Fresh; Grammy award winning singer, Stephanie Mills; Dancing with the Stars musical director Ray Chew; legendary actors Phylicia Rashad and Danny Glover; master arranger, jazz composer, producer Nat Adderly Jr.; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Oyu Oro Afro Cuban Dance Ensemble; music by Bob Dylan in an exclusive performance of The Girl From The North Country; an exclusive premiere of  Langston Hughes’ The Black Clown courtesy of Lincoln Center; a celebration of the 56th Anniversary of Jazzmobile’s Summerfest; as well as a performance from legendary Wynton Marsalis.

This year’s Harlem Week sponsors include: NYC & Company, New York Road Runners, The Shubert Organization, Nederlander Organization, WBLS.FM/WLIB.AM, The City College of New York, Columbia University, FOX5 TV, New York Daily News, Empire State Development Corp., NY1, NJPAC, MTA, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Company, West Harlem Development Corporation, One Hundred Black Men of New York, NY Amsterdam News, Apollo Theater, I Love NY, Schneps Media, AURN, and more.

For the past 46 years, Harlem Week has remained the premiere cultural celebration showcasing and saluting the best of Harlem; featuring conferences, seminars, sports, music and dance performances, community meals and more. What has been known as “The World’s Longest Week” lasting one month, this year in its virtual form will be eight days (Sunday, August 16 to Sunday, August 23). Harlem Week proudly commemorates decades of continued service to the Village of Harlem, greater New York City, and the Harlems of the world.

This year, even as the current global pandemic ravages communities, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce continues to provide hot and packaged meals, Internet access, as well as employment and educational resources to you. More information can be found on the amazing community work led by The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

Visit the Harlem Week website for a complete list of events.